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Townie: A Memoir

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Townie: A Memoir Cover

ISBN13: 9780393064667
ISBN10: 0393064662
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Awards

Staff Pick

Townie is a riveting, intense, and compassionate memoir in which Andre Dubus III offers readers an intimate understanding of his life and the challenges he faced as a child and young adult. Despite the odds, you'll be cheering for Dubus to succeed with the turn of every page. Don't miss this unforgettable book!
Recommended by Kim S., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and those he loved from street violence, Andre learned to use his fists so well that he was even scared of himself. He was on a fast track to getting killed — or killing someone else — or to beatings-for-pay as a boxer.

Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash of worlds couldn't have been more stark — or more difficult for a son to communicate to a father. Only by becoming a writer himself could Andre begin to bridge the abyss and save himself. His memoir is a riveting, visceral, profound meditation on physical violence and the failures and triumphs of love.

Review:

"Long before he became the highly acclaimed author of House of Sand and Fog, Dubus shuffled and punched his way through a childhood and youth full of dysfunction, desperation, and determination. Just after he turned 12, Dubus's family fell rapidly into shambles after his father — the prominent writer Andre Dubus — not only left his wife for a younger woman but also left the family in distressing poverty on the violent and drug-infested side of their Massachusetts mill town. For a few years, Dubus escaped into drugs, embracing the apathetic 'no-way-out' attitude of his friends. After having his bike stolen, being slapped around by some of the town's bullies, and watching his brother and mother humiliated by some of the town's thugs, Dubus started lifting weights at home and boxing at the local gym. Modeling himself on the Walking Tall sheriff, Buford Pusser, Dubus paid back acts of physical violence with physical violence. Ultimately, he decided to take up his pen and write his way up from the bottom and into a new relationship with his father. In this gritty and gripping memoir, Dubus bares his soul in stunning and page-turning prose. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"Dubus chronicles each traumatic incident and realization in stabbing detail. So chiseled are his dramatic memories, his shocking yet redemptive memoir of self-transformation feels like testimony under oath as well as hard-hammered therapy, coalescing, ultimately, in a generous, penetrating, and cathartic dissection of misery and fury, creativity and forgiveness, responsibility and compassion." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"[P]owerful, haunting....[Dubus III's] compassionate memoir abounds with exquisitely rendered scenes of fighting, cheating, drugging, drinking and loving. A striking, eloquent account of growing up poor and of the making of a writer." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"I've never read a better or more serious meditation on violence, its sources, consequences, and, especially, its terrifying pleasures, than Townie. It's a brutal and, yes, thrilling memoir that sheds real light on the creative process of two of our best writers, Andre Dubus III and his famous, much revered father. You'll never read the work of either man in quite the same way afterward. You may not view the world in quite the same way, either." Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls

Review:

"The best first-person account of an author's life I have ever read. The violence that is described is the kind that is with us every day, whether we recognize it or not. The characters are wonderful and compassionately drawn. I sincerely believe Andre Dubus may be the best writer in America. His talent is enormous. No one who reads this book will ever forget it." James Lee Burke, author of the Dave Robicheaux novels

Synopsis:

An acclaimed novelist reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him — until he was saved by writing.

Synopsis:

Won Book of the Year Adult Non-Fiction--2012 Indie Choice Awards Amazon Best Book of the Month February 2011 An acclaimed novelist reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him--until he was saved by writing.

Synopsis:

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's memoir, in the spirit of Richard Rodriquezs Hunger for Memory and Nathan McCalls Makes Me Wanna Holler—an intimate look at the mythology, experience, and psyche of the Asian American male

Synopsis:

A  gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past.

Synopsis:

A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up — a place where slavery's legacy felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders' stories and in the near-constant wash of violence.

Blow's attachment to his mother — a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning — cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It's damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning.

Finally, Blow escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing, and then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he's ever needed and wanted, until he's called upon, himself, to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse.

A powerfully redemptive memoir that both fits the tradition of African-American storytelling from the South, and gives it an indelible new slant.

Synopsis:

An award-winning writer takes a groundbreaking look at the experience and psyche of the Asian American male.    Alex Tizon landed in an America that saw Asian women as sexy and Asian men as sexless. Immigrating from the Philippines as a young boy, everything he saw and heard taught him to be ashamed of his face, his skin color, his height.  His fierce and funny observations of sex and the Asian American male include his own quest for love during college in the 1980s, a tortured tutorial on stereotypes that still make it hard for Asian men to get the girl. Tizon writes: "I had to educate myself on my own worth. It was a sloppy, piecemeal education, but I had to do it because no one else was going to do it for me."  And then, a transformation. First, Tizons growing understanding that shame is universal: that his own just happened to be about race. Next, seismic cultural changes - from Jerry Yangs phenomenal success with Yahoo! Inc., to actor Ken Watanabes emergence in Hollywood blockbusters, to Jeremy Lins meteoric NBA rise.  Finally, Tizons deeply original, taboo-bending investigation turns outward, tracking the unheard stories of young Asian men today, in a landscape still complex but much changed for the Asian American man. 

About the Author

Andre Dubus III is the author of a collection of short fiction, The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, and the novels Bluesman, House of Sand and Fog, and The Garden of Last Days. His work has been included in The Best American Essays of 1994, The Best Spiritual Writing of 1999, and The Best of Hope Magazine. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for fiction, and the Pushcart Prize, and he was a finalist for the Rome Prize Fellowship from the Academy of Arts and Letters. An Academy Award-nominated motion picture and published in seventeen languages, House of Sand and Fog was a fiction finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a Booksense Book of the Year, an Oprah Book Club selection, and #1 New York Times bestseller. A member of PEN American Center, Dubus has served as a panelist for the National Book Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts and has taught writing at Harvard University, Tufts University, and Emerson College. He is currently a full-time faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is married to the performer Fontaine Dollas Dubus. They live in Massachusetts with their three children.

Table of Contents

Killing Magellan 1

Land of the Giants 23

Orientals 43

Seeking Hot Asian Babes 63

Babes, Continued 81

Asian Boy 93

Tiny Men on the Big Screen 111

Its Color Was Its Size 129

Getting Tall 143

Wen Wu 159

Yellow Tornado 177

“What Men Are Supposed To Do” 197

“One of Us, Not One of Us” 209

Big Little Fighter 223

Authors Note 245

Acknowledgments 249

Selected Sources 251

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

Jacqueline Cable, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Jacqueline Cable)
I loved the modern day rags to riches story more geared towards thug turned writer. Kept me hooked, made me feel compassion and hope for the character the more I read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
H Greeley, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by H Greeley)
This was by far the most memorable book of 2012 for me. It had me wondering whether it was truly a memoir or possibly fiction. To migrate from the author's experiences to a place where one would have either the inclination or ability to tell such a story is a remarkable evolution and achievement. Knowing the geography where the book takes place added additional color for me, but the author also brought forward a broader sense of directionless that permeated growing up in the 1970s in a way that was new to me but felt very real.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Jill Kinkade, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by Jill Kinkade)
This is a great book by and about a "reformed thug." For anyone who loves a well written book, likes a good story, and is fascinated about the role the family plays in a child's development, this is an excellent read. For those of us who often ponder the "nature or nurture" question, we'll come away from the book understanding a little bit more. I can't wait to get my hands on more of Dubus' writing.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 8 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393064667
Author:
Dubus III, Andre
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Author:
Tizon, Alex
Author:
Andre Dubus III
Author:
Blow, Charles M.
Author:
Dubus III Andre
Author:
Dubus, Andre, III
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
People of Color
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20110231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

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Children's » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
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Townie: A Memoir Used Hardcover
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 240 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393064667 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Townie is a riveting, intense, and compassionate memoir in which Andre Dubus III offers readers an intimate understanding of his life and the challenges he faced as a child and young adult. Despite the odds, you'll be cheering for Dubus to succeed with the turn of every page. Don't miss this unforgettable book!

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Long before he became the highly acclaimed author of House of Sand and Fog, Dubus shuffled and punched his way through a childhood and youth full of dysfunction, desperation, and determination. Just after he turned 12, Dubus's family fell rapidly into shambles after his father — the prominent writer Andre Dubus — not only left his wife for a younger woman but also left the family in distressing poverty on the violent and drug-infested side of their Massachusetts mill town. For a few years, Dubus escaped into drugs, embracing the apathetic 'no-way-out' attitude of his friends. After having his bike stolen, being slapped around by some of the town's bullies, and watching his brother and mother humiliated by some of the town's thugs, Dubus started lifting weights at home and boxing at the local gym. Modeling himself on the Walking Tall sheriff, Buford Pusser, Dubus paid back acts of physical violence with physical violence. Ultimately, he decided to take up his pen and write his way up from the bottom and into a new relationship with his father. In this gritty and gripping memoir, Dubus bares his soul in stunning and page-turning prose. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "Dubus chronicles each traumatic incident and realization in stabbing detail. So chiseled are his dramatic memories, his shocking yet redemptive memoir of self-transformation feels like testimony under oath as well as hard-hammered therapy, coalescing, ultimately, in a generous, penetrating, and cathartic dissection of misery and fury, creativity and forgiveness, responsibility and compassion."
"Review" by , "[P]owerful, haunting....[Dubus III's] compassionate memoir abounds with exquisitely rendered scenes of fighting, cheating, drugging, drinking and loving. A striking, eloquent account of growing up poor and of the making of a writer."
"Review" by , "I've never read a better or more serious meditation on violence, its sources, consequences, and, especially, its terrifying pleasures, than Townie. It's a brutal and, yes, thrilling memoir that sheds real light on the creative process of two of our best writers, Andre Dubus III and his famous, much revered father. You'll never read the work of either man in quite the same way afterward. You may not view the world in quite the same way, either."
"Review" by , "The best first-person account of an author's life I have ever read. The violence that is described is the kind that is with us every day, whether we recognize it or not. The characters are wonderful and compassionately drawn. I sincerely believe Andre Dubus may be the best writer in America. His talent is enormous. No one who reads this book will ever forget it."
"Synopsis" by , An acclaimed novelist reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him — until he was saved by writing.
"Synopsis" by , Won Book of the Year Adult Non-Fiction--2012 Indie Choice Awards Amazon Best Book of the Month February 2011 An acclaimed novelist reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him--until he was saved by writing.
"Synopsis" by , A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's memoir, in the spirit of Richard Rodriquezs Hunger for Memory and Nathan McCalls Makes Me Wanna Holler—an intimate look at the mythology, experience, and psyche of the Asian American male

"Synopsis" by ,
A  gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past.
"Synopsis" by , A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up — a place where slavery's legacy felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders' stories and in the near-constant wash of violence.

Blow's attachment to his mother — a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning — cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It's damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning.

Finally, Blow escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing, and then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he's ever needed and wanted, until he's called upon, himself, to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse.

A powerfully redemptive memoir that both fits the tradition of African-American storytelling from the South, and gives it an indelible new slant.

"Synopsis" by , An award-winning writer takes a groundbreaking look at the experience and psyche of the Asian American male.    Alex Tizon landed in an America that saw Asian women as sexy and Asian men as sexless. Immigrating from the Philippines as a young boy, everything he saw and heard taught him to be ashamed of his face, his skin color, his height.  His fierce and funny observations of sex and the Asian American male include his own quest for love during college in the 1980s, a tortured tutorial on stereotypes that still make it hard for Asian men to get the girl. Tizon writes: "I had to educate myself on my own worth. It was a sloppy, piecemeal education, but I had to do it because no one else was going to do it for me."  And then, a transformation. First, Tizons growing understanding that shame is universal: that his own just happened to be about race. Next, seismic cultural changes - from Jerry Yangs phenomenal success with Yahoo! Inc., to actor Ken Watanabes emergence in Hollywood blockbusters, to Jeremy Lins meteoric NBA rise.  Finally, Tizons deeply original, taboo-bending investigation turns outward, tracking the unheard stories of young Asian men today, in a landscape still complex but much changed for the Asian American man. 
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